I am currently in Lima, Peru, one of the loveliest places I have visited. The smells, colors, and people are intoxicating, and the food? I have gained five pounds! Suffice to say that if you have not experienced Peruvian food, you have not lived. My journey to Lima came by way of an invitation to a wedding conference from the talented event planner and designer, Arturo de Noriega. My arrival last Saturday coincided with a gorgeous event. To my greatest delight, the weddings in Lima maintain a taste and sophistication on par with the most fashionable and elegant cities in the world.
I have been spoiled every night by Arturo, along with the talented Felipe, Liliana, Monica, and the “Martha Stewart of Peru“, the amazing chef and decorator Marisa.
I always say that the best part of my job is that I am able to travel and experience the richness of so many different cultures and countries. I wanted very much to share this experience with you and decided to interview my gracious host and new friend Arturo. I am hoping this post will allow you to gain a sense of this beautiful country and its wonderful culture.
PB: Arturo, In the past two years most of the world has felt a shift for the worse in the economy. Has this happened in Peru?
Arturo: In Peru, the economy remains very strong. We are fortunate to have not been affected at all.
PB: Please tell me more about your client base. Give us a sense of your clients.
Arturo: Lima has a wonderful mixture of different cultures; here we have a Jewish, Spanish, Arab, and Chinese communities among many others. Despite the wide variety of customs from each culture, the one common connection is that they all love a great party!
PB:I have seen a few of your spectacular events produced by your company LE FETE. Please tell me a bit more about the events in Peru?
Arturo: It rarely rains in Peru, and because of this, most of our events are outdoors and done “buffet-style“. Peruvians are big party people and most events last until six or seven in the morning. Because food is very important to us, you’ll often find a great food display. The big, dramatic statement is often done at our dessert table (pictured below). The protocol for weddings is that the ceremony is first, followed by a cocktail hour, then we eat and dance until the sun comes up.
PB: I always hesitate in answering this question, and I’m curious to know how you approach it – what is the most money a client has spent on a wedding in Lima, and what is the average price range for events?
Arturo: The most lavish wedding in Peru came in at total a cost of $500,000. The average high-end wedding usually runs from $80,000 to $100.000.
PB: What is the one piece of advice you would give to your younger self if you could?
Arturo: I am a perfectionist, Preston. When I am doing an event, I will sometimes drive myself and everyone around me crazy. I have learned with experience to be calmer. I would tell my younger self to relax.
PB: How do you work with your clients?
Arturo: Many of my clients have become friends and they trust me. My gold has always been to do anything humanly possible to make them happy.
PB: I hope it is OK to ask.. why did you feel it was important for me to give a speech in Lima?
Arturo: Well, I saw you for the first time at a conference In Las Vegas and thought you were a good fit. As our market in Lima grows, I thought it was essential to bring someone of your caliber to share your knowledge of events in New York and other places around the world. We also all have your books. Preston, I would like to take this chance to ask you if you would consider coming back and doing a floral demonstration.
PB: I have only done one floral demonstration and that was in Las vegas last year! It would be an honor to come back to demonstrate.
I have enjoyed myself immensely during my time in Peru. My only regret is that I did not get a chance to visit Machu Picchu (which I will be sure to see when I return). In closing, I’d like to take this moment thank the Peru Country Club Hotel for putting me in their presidential suiteand spoiling me with food and services.
I’s also like to give a very special thank you to the incredible Felipe, a brilliant leader in the event industry and a warm and welcoming host. Without his help and generosity this trip would not have been possible.
For now, I am heading to the gym, to lose these additional pounds. I leave you with a few special photos from the event Arturo and Felipe threw for me last night.
Enjoy your weekend!
Sweets Table (a big deal at Peruvian events)